2020 Hall of Fame Awards Announced
The Board of Directors of the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame is pleased to announce that the Nominating Committee has made its selection of individuals who will join the exceptional group of men, women and horses in the Museum’s Hall of Fame for 2020: Joey Casey, Cyril R. Harrison, Pat Dix, George C. Sherman, Sr., and horses Wembley and Gargantilla.
The 31st Annual Hall of Fame Awards Dinner and Induction Ceremony is one of the premier events of the high-goal polo season in Florida and is scheduled for Friday, February 14th, 2020 at the Museum of Polo.
Joey Casey was nominated for numerous accomplishments as a world-class polo player, as well as a polo pony breeder and trainer of exceptional horses for polo. A third-generation polo player, he attained a 7 goal handicap and competed in numerous high-profile events as a sought-after professional player. His list of wins of major American tournaments includes the USPA Sunshine League Championship 6 times, the International Gold Cup 4 times, the USPA CV Whitney, USPA Gold Cup, Pacific Coast Open and many more. Casey was Polo Manager for the Royal Palm Polo Sport’s Club from 1990 until the club’s closure. Considered one of the top experts on polo field installation and maintenance, he has consulted on at least 25 American polo field operations. He continues to manage a business specializing in polo training and mentoring for novice players at his polo club Palm City Polo, located in south Florida.
Posthumous Hall of Fame honoree Cyril R. Harrison dedicated his entire life to polo, recognized as an accomplished player, gifted instructor, a beloved mentor, respected horseman, and an exceptional trainer of polo ponies. He seeded, organized and ran polo schools for young players all over the country, becoming one of the USPA’s first polo instructors of the modern game. Harrison who was 7 goals outdoor and 8 goals in the arena, was known for his exquisite hitting style and smart, competitive team play. Because of his impeccable technique he was sought out to coach the children of the best polo players of the era. He has been praised by people such as Doc Roberts and Skey Johnston for his passionate efforts to improve the sport and impart his knowledge, which he did until his untimely death at age 58 while playing at Myopia.
Pat Dix is honored with the Iglehart Award for outstanding contributions to the sport. Playing polo since the age of 13 in Spokane, Washington, Pat went on to log over 60 years of service to polo. In his leadership roles he served as USPA Executive Vice-President, Pacific Northwest Governor, National Rules Committee Chairman, Governor-at-Large, Chairman of the Pacific Northwest Circuit Handicap and Rules Committee. He was instrumental in leading the effort to establish a new Pacific Northwest Circuit which had previously been part of the Pacific Coast Circuit. He achieved a 5 goal-rating and enjoyed a number of outstanding achievements on the playing field that included being the leading scorer of the winning Cornell 1963 National Intercollegiate Championship team. He was a runner-up for U.S. Open in 1986; and, he notched wins of notable tournaments such as the America’s Cup National 16 Goal, the high-goal Sunshine League, National 12 Goal Inter-Circuit, and many Pacific Northwest Championships. In 1986 he was recognized with the Hugo Dalmar National Sportsmanship Award and was inducted in 2004 into the Cornell University Polo Hall of Fame.”
The posthumous Iglehart award is awarded to George C. Sherman, Sr. Known as the “father of indoor polo” Sherman was almost single-handedly responsible for organizing and refining this ever-popular version of the sport. He introduced the inflatable ball, redesigned the standard polo equipment for the arena game’s specific needs and modified the rules of outdoor play for indoor use. He was the founder and first president of the Indoor Polo Association (from 1915 to 1926), which was not merged with the USPA until 1956. He was zealous in introducing young players into the sport; and presented the first Interscholastic Cup in 1928. Since all collegiate and scholastic polo is now played indoors, he may be said to have innovated this invaluable training ground as well. Sherman passed the torch of leadership in polo to his son, George C. Sherman, Jr. who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998 for his exemplary contributions to the sport.
The phenomenal black Thoroughbred gelding Wembley (Catisfield Kid x Darkie), owned by Bob Jornayvaz, will be recognized as “Horses to Remember, Post-Hartman Award Era”. Wembley was a recognizable hero on the field going back many years. Born in 1993, the now 26-year-old horse has been the veteran of the most highly competitive polo in the U.S. and around the world, played by the best players in the sport. Counted among his laurels were numerous Best Playing Pony Awards, Horse of the Year in 2004, and in 2013 Wembley was the first recipient of the Wembley award established in his honor to recognize horses that have had longevity and excellence playing at the high goal level at IPC. That year, he played throughout the season and in four of six chukkers of the U.S. Open. Wembley was formally retired in 2016 at the U.S. Open Polo Championship.
The Horses to Remember honoree of the early era is Gargantilla, a mare played by polo Hall of Famer Devereux Milburn in his hard-fought campaigns that included the iconic International series, U.S. Open Championships and Monty Waterbury matches from 1923 – 1927. In 1923 she won the Prince Friarstown Cup, the most prestigious award of the era. Foaled in 1914 in Argentina, the pony first gained fame as a star there before being bought by another Hall of Famer, Harry Payne Whitney to add to his world-renowned string of ponies. Although owned by Whitney, Gargantilla and Milburn are eternally linked, remembered for their superior play together; and, this union was celebrated in numerous photos and as the subject of paintings of two of the most celebrated artists in history, Alfred G. Munnings and Franklin Voss.
We invite you to join us in welcoming these inspirational people and horses to the Hall of Fame as we celebrate their accomplishments and contributions to the sport of polo.
The Awards Gala and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Museum of Polo on Friday, February 14th, 2020. All are invited to attend. You may purchase seats for the dinner up to a week in advance. Reservations are $250.00 each (tax deductible portion $125.00). The Hall of Fame Awards Dinner is the most important fundraising event for the Museum each year, so we hope you will help support your Museum, a 501 (c) 3, not-for-profit organization. Contact Brenda Lynn at the Museum, (561) 969-3210 or (561) 969-7015, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for further details, information, or to make your reservations.